Rhythm in Naugy musician’s blood

NAUGATUCK — His mother was a singer and his father was a drummer. So no one thought it was strange when Michael Ostuni first started messing with his dad’s drum set as a baby.

It wasn’t long before Victor Ostuni’s infant son surprised them all.

“He was playing beats with his hands and doing drum rolls,” Victor Ostuni, 57, of 185 Melbourne St., said.

When Michael was 5, Victor Ostuni bought him an adult-sized drum set and cut everything down to size.

“He never stopped,” Victor Ostuni said. “It was daily, and he always had a pair of drumsticks with him.”

Now 29, Michael Ostuni has opened for B.B. King, Marshall Tucker Band and several famous rock bands, and once had a $500,000 record deal with a national label. He has returned to the borough to produce his own modern rock album under the name Static Kill, and lends other local artists a hand with recording and production as well.

“It does you no good if there’s a great guitar player in L.A., or a great producer in L.A.,” Michael Ostuni said. “Just because someone’s working out of L.A. or New York doesn’t mean they’re any more talented than someone who’s local.”

Michael Ostuni should know. His old band, Craving Lucy, signed with Riker Hill records a few years ago and went to Los Angeles to record an album. The label was small, however, and did not have the connections the band needed, said Victor Ostuni, who acts
as his son’s manager.

Michael Ostuni left the band in 2007 and soon afterward started Static Kill, which right now is a solo project auditioning for new members. Ostuni has recorded a 6-track EP, which is being distributed through JMD Records, part of Universal Music Group.

The EP is being distributed almost exclusively over the Internet and was recorded using Ostuni’s own equipment in his father’s basement. Such is the new face of music, Ostuni said.

“It’s become the musician’s responsibility to have a finished product they can sell,” Ostuni said.

Although Ostuni’s roots are in rock music, he records and produces albums for local pop and hip-hop artists in addition to rock musicians. Like performing, Ostuni was interested in recording from an early age.

“Growing up, I used cheap microphones from Radio Shack, stuck them through amplifiers and put them through a tape player,” he said.

Ostuni got into digital recording when he was 20, and learned to produce professional quality tracks through Internet tutorials and experimentation, he said.

As a child, Ostuni took private percussion lessons and played in a progressive rock band called CX3 at Naugatuck High School. He graduated in 1999 and went on to study jazz performance at Western Connecticut State University, but that only lasted a year.

He dropped out and moved to Boston, where he joined Bionic, the band that would eventually become Craving Lucy. Their single, “Therapy,” was played on radio stations across the country.

After he left Craving Lucy, Ostuni joined Mad Orchid, a local band that played around Connecticut, including at Cook’s Cafe in Naugatuck. Last summer, he left to start Static Kill. To produce his EP, he recorded his voice and each instrumental part separately, then put them together.

“I figured out that being a multi-instrumentalist is what makes me happy,” Ostuni said. “It feels like I’m more of a part of the music.”